Sunday, March 1, 2009

CHN Player of the Week, Mar. 1

Player(s) of the Week: Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins, Kansas

The number of impressive performances has been increasing over the past few weeks, as players from around the country try to put up superhuman efforts in an attempt to lead their teams to important victories as the season winds down. Bubble teams need bids, teams that are locks want to improve their seedings, and mid-majors jockey for league titles. In each case, there were a multitude of standout games.

There were plenty of big-time wins this past week, none more so than Providence’s victory over Pittsburgh. The Friars followed that up with a win at Rutgers on Sunday. Weyinmi Efejuku led the way, averaging 22.0 points in the two wins. Texas A&M improved its NCAA chances with wins over Nebraska and Iowa State, as Josh Carter hit a three at the buzzer to beat the Cornhuskers and then put up 29 points against the Cyclones. Also in the Big 12, James Anderson of Oklahoma State led the Cowboys to victories over Colorado and Texas, averaging 24.0 points and 7.5 rebounds. Jimmer Fredette might have helped BYU lock up a bid, averaging 26.5 points, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals in wins over San Diego State and Utah. And the runner-up for Player of the Week probably was LSU’s Marcus Thornton, who put up 27.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in wins over Florida and Kentucky. But, for the first time all season, we have a co-Player of the Week – from the same team.

Kansas clearly had the biggest week of the season, knocking off Oklahoma on the road (sans Blake Griffin) and then blowing out Missouri at home on Sunday. And in both games, it was the efforts of Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins that gave the Jayhawks the edge. Against Oklahoma, Aldrich took advantage of the Griffin-less Sooners, scoring 15 points and grabbing 20 rebounds to go with four blocks. Collins hit five threes en route to 26 points. In today’s game against the Tigers, Aldrich continued his breakout season with 19 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks. Collins stole the show this time, though, putting up 25 points, five rebounds and six assists. With the wins, Kansas has the inside track to a Big 12 title and a potential No. 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament – two things no one thought were possible at the outset of the season.

- Marcus Thornton, LSU
- Jimmer Fredette, BYU
- Josh Carter, Texas A&M

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